Our NAP and next-best selections were both bang on the money on Friday, so take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Saturday, February 4, 2017.
CALETT MAD (Wetherby 2.45) appears the one they all have to beat in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase. Daryl Jacob was hardly enamoured with him after he won at Taunton over 2m7f last month, saying that he was “a typical French (jumping) type, but he gets from A to B”, so there are some doubts that he will get round without making a blunder or two. He was keen the time before and if the ground is softer than hoped, he may not see this 3m out as well as some of his five rivals. However, Taunton was not his track and Wetherby should suit him much better. He made light of his mark of 138 last time and while he has been whacked up 10lb, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ five-year-old has plenty of improvement in him yet.
PROJECT BLUEBOOK (Musselburgh 1.30) is our next-best selection on a day where there is plenty of choice. Twice a winner here last month, he may land the hat-trick as he steps up in class for the Listed Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial Juvenile Hurdle – which just goes to show that races can be as cumbersomely-named as horses. We get that it is a hurdle race, right? It is not so good that we have to name it twice. The selection, trained by John Quinn and ridden by Brian Hughes, takes on five rivals after making a mockery of his opening handicap mark. A fast-run 2m is ideal for him. The only question is whether we shall get it here in winter ground.
GRENDISAR (Lingfield Park 3.05) goes for a third successive win in the Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield. The definition of Derby is open to question. In our minds, a Derby is a race run over 1m4f – not 1m2f. Heaven forbid, that is way too French for us. Last season Marco Botti’s runner enjoyed a great all-weather campaign, landing this race, the Winter Derby and the Easter Classic on Good Friday. He has been beaten on his only two starts this term over course and distance, but those races were not run to suit him and he comes into his own after shaking the cobwebs off. He loves the track and you would have to be hopeful he could beat his seven rivals.
OTAGO TRAIL (Sandown 3.35) is going to have to put up a stellar performance carrying 11st 12lb on what is likely to be deep winter ground – which begs the question: should Kempton Park really be shuttered by The Jockey Club and the King George VI Chase moved to the Esher track if a spot of rain turns Sandown into a mud-bath? We are willing to save that conversation for another day. We don’t think it will happen for one thing. Otago Trail is in the care of the lovely Venetia Williams, who knows just how to train horses for conditions such as these. The nine-year-old is one of our favourite horses in training and he chased home Bristol De Mai in a strong renewal of the Peter Marsh Case at Haydock last time. That is top-class form in all but name. The worry is the race may have come a bit too soon but the trip is fine and this 3m handicap chase might be a decent Grand National prep.
SANDOWN PARK: 12.40 Coeur De Lion, 1.15 Pearls Legend, 1.50 Buveur D’air, 2.25 Le Prezien, 3.00 Behind Time, 3.35 Otago Trail, 4.05 Cheque En Blanc
WETHERBY: 1.05 Tearsofclewbay, 1.40 Red Spinner, 2.15 Mirasaale, 2.45 CALETT MAD (NAP), 3.20 Point The Way, 3.55 Open Hearted, 4.25 Out Of Style
LINGFIELD PARK: 12.50 Saleh, 1.25 Saborido, 2.00 Gracious John, 2.30 Vimy Ridge, 3.05 Grendisar, 3.40 Varsovian, 4.15 Appy Days
MUSSELBURGH: 12.25 Dear Sire, 12.55 Doubldisdoubledat, 1.30 Project Bluebook (nb), 2.05 Azure Fly, 2.40 Pads, 3.15 Drumcliff, 3.45 Wonderful Charm, 4.20 Final Countdown
NEWCASTLE: 5.45 Mystique Moon, 6.15 Things Happen, 6.45 Table Manners, 7.15 Garrick, 7.45 Revolutionary War, 8.15 Poppy In The Wind, 8.45 Spirit Of Zebedee
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